Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he was surprised by England manager Roy Hodgson's decision to not include Manchester United defender Phil Jones in his squad to face Brazil.
The Three Lions' boss opted against picking the 20-year-old for his 24-man squad for the friendly against the South Americans at Wembley next week and the player was drafted into Stuart Pearce's U21 team instead.
Recent reports claim that Hodgson's decision to snub Jones has left Ferguson furious. The Scot did play down those rumours but admitted that the decision has come as a surprise to him, considering the youngster had started in United's last four matches.
"I haven't paid much attention to it [reports]. I'm surprised he's in the Under-21s and not the full squad. I think it's happened quite a few times to players [being dropped back to Under-21s]. Is it understandable to the players? That can be the difficult thing to manage," Ferguson said.
"The players, once they're in the full squad, think they've achieved that - he's played for the full squad. If they then take a step back, it can be hard to manage that. But he's 20 years of age and Stuart Pearce wants to pick as good an Under-21 squad as he can get. And that includes players like Phil Jones," the 70-year-old pointed out.
Several pundits have likened Jones to Chelsea captain John Terry during his younger years but Ferguson does not completely believe in that analysis, given the speed and versatility of the former Blackburn Rovers star.
"Well, I think he's got more in his locker than Terry had to be honest with you but Terry gathered experience and became a fantastic central figure for Chelsea. Obviously, he was the main man at Chelsea but, as a young player, I think John would be the first to admit he didn't have the pace of Jones. He's a very versatile boy while John is a centre-back. Jones is proving himself everywhere," the Red Devils boss added.
Jones is now expected to start for the England U21 team for their friendly against Sweden at Walsall next midweek.